60 Million Reasons To Believe

Very late last week NBC reported that the sum of money Paul Manafort received from Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with extremely close ties to Vladimir Putin, now amounted to $60 million. The Trump campaign and Donald Trump in particular, repeatedly and vehemently denied any collusion or coordination with Russia during the 2016 campaign or the subsequent transition. The evidence belies their rhetoric and we just got 60 million more pieces of incriminating evidence. Let’s explore.

Many of the transactions flowed through multiple accounts including ones in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands. Those patterns and “venues” are often found in international money laundering transactions. (One, at this point, unanswered question in my mind is: Was Wilbur Ross’ bank in Cyprus involved?) Why all the chicanery if these transactions were simple and legitimate loans to Manafort?

We know that former Trump Campaign Manager Manafort (acting in that capacity), Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner met with Russians during the campaign in quest of dirt on Hillary Clinton. (Soliciting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute is still a crime.)

We know that the only plank in the 2016 GOP platform that the Trump forces changed was the one that would have been tough on Russian actions in Ukraine.

Evidence mounts daily of the Russian use of social media to manipulate the susceptible in direct violation of American electoral law that prohibits foreign money in American elections. (After viewing some of the ads and posts I can only guess that there is a portion of the American electorate that needs protection from their own ignorance and stupidity.)

We know that campaign national security advisor and Trump’s first National Security Advisor Michael Flynn met and had conversations with Russians during the campaign and prior to taking office.

On August 2nd Trump signed legislation giving the Executive Branch until October 1st to impose various new sanctions on Russia. The legislation passed the House 413-3, the Senate 98-2. The House members who voted against it were Justin Amash of Michigan, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and John Duncan of Tennessee. In the Senate the pair was the odd fellows Rand Paul of Kentucky and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (Both Senators had somewhat convoluted reasoning which is typical of them. I respect both; I just agree with Sanders a whole lot more often.) The bottom line is that as of this writing (October 15th) the Trump administration has yet to impose the sanctions. You connect those dots.

At this point only a fool or someone exercising willful ignorance would believe that Russia did not attempt to interfere with the 2016 elections and that the Trump team did not collude. I was slow to accept that Bill Clinton engaged in sexual activities with Monica Lewinsky, but at a certain point I accepted the preponderance of the evidence. Many Trump supporters remind me of the people who at the conclusion of World War II refused to believe it was over and that their side had lost. Such is the belief in fascist leaders who the desperate take as saviors that will deliver them to their “rightful” (although unearned) place of superiority. I guess when you buy into a promise as your salvation it is nearly impossible to accept reality.

NBC just gave you 60 million more reasons to believe. The alternative is to say that everything negative about Trump – including his own statements and actions – is fake news.

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